Sunday, August 20, 2017

Greg Kelley: Texas: New evidence to prove his innocence presented by his lawyers...."According to a search warrant recently released by Texas Rangers, there are three primary suspects who may have sexually assaulted the young boy back in 2014. One of these is Greg Kelley. After the Williamson County District Attorney reopened the case against Kelley, all case information was reviewed by the Texas Rangers. In the recently released documents, the Texas Rangers listed the reasons which have prevented the ability to rule Greg Kelley out as a suspect."........." According to Kelley's attorney Keith Hampton, none of the sites that were visited by Kelley have child pornography on them and that the sites are typical of what a teenage boy would look at. According to Hampton, the information was known to everyone in the case and it should not factor into Kelley's request to be released from jail on bond. Other documents were also obtained by FOX 7 regarding one of the other suspects, Johnathan McCarty. According to those documents, investigators also found that McCarty visited pornographic websites. Investigators also discovered text messages about delivering drugs as well as others that highlighted McCarty's sexual preference was deviant in nature."


STORY: "New documents released by Texas Rangers for Greg Kelley hearing," by reporter Lauren Reid, published by FOX7  on August 17, 2017.

GIST: New documents related to the case against Greg Kelley have been released by the Texas Rangers. Greg Kelley was in a Williamson County court earlier this month for a three day hearing where Kelley's lawyer presented new evidence to prove Kelley's innocence. 22-year-old Kelley was convicted of assaulting a young boy at an in home daycare in Cedar Park in 2014. Judge King is giving the prosecution and Kelley's attorneys until August 18 to deliver findings of fact to her. She will then decide whether to let Kelley out on bond. According to a search warrant recently released by Texas Rangers, there are three primary suspects who may have sexually assaulted the young boy back in 2014. One of these is Greg Kelley. After the Williamson County District Attorney reopened the case against Kelley, all case information was reviewed by the Texas Rangers. In the recently released documents, the Texas Rangers listed the reasons which have prevented the ability to rule Greg Kelley out as a suspect. Some, but not all of the reasons, include: Kelley was named by the victim, Kelley had opportunity and access, and Kelley admitted to wearing the clothing that the child victim described his attacker wearing during the assault. While re-analyzing Kelley's cell phone, a Texas Ranger claims to have found pornography on the phone as well as browser history that suggested Kelley visited hookup sites for adults. Some, but not all of the reasons, include: Kelley was named by the victim, Kelley had opportunity and access, and Kelley admitted to wearing the clothing that the child victim described his attacker wearing during the assault. While re-analyzing Kelley's cell phone, a Texas Ranger claims to have found pornography on the phone as well as browser history that suggested Kelley visited hookup sites for adults.Some of the websites were visited 22 days before the out cry by the child victim. According to Kelley's attorney Keith Hampton, none of the sites that were visited by Kelley have child pornography on them and that the sites are typical of what a teenage boy would look at.  According to Hampton, the information was known to everyone in the case and it should not factor into Kelley's request to be released from jail on bond. Other documents were also obtained by FOX 7 regarding one of the other suspects, Johnathan McCarty. According to those documents, investigators also found that McCarty visited pornographic websites. Investigators also discovered text messages about delivering drugs as well as others that highlighted McCarty's sexual preference was deviant in nature.

The entire story can be found at:
http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/274476363-story

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Susan Neill-Fraser: (Australia): More extraordinary developments; (Reported by The Mercury): High profile Queen's Counsel calls on state government to launch an independent inquiry - and revelation that one of Neill-Fraser's previous defence lawyers Hobart lawyer (Jeffrey Ian Thomson) has been charged with perverting justice in relation to the case..."A police spokeswoman said that during an unrelated investigation in early February, police were given information alleging a possible conspiracy to pervert justice by falsifying evidence in support of Neill-Fraser’s appeal, which is currently before the court. The word from inside the force is there will more charges to follow. Outside court after Mr Thompson’s appearance on Wednesday, Neill-Fraser’s daughter Sarah Bowles said her mother would be “shocked and in disbelief with regard to this latest development”. Renowned barrister Tom Percy QC, who is representing Neill-Fraser pro bono, declined to comment on developments this week, saying he “might have more to say” on Wednesday when the case heads to the Supreme Court in Hobart for a mention. Melbourne criminal law specialist Paul Galbally has confirmed he is still on the defence team but declined to comment further. Legal reform activist Bob Moles — who runs a project investigating alleged wrongful convictions in South Australia — believed the appeal could go ahead despite the charges. “I’m of the view that the Neill-Fraser appeal could and would be successful if the appeal court was informed of the errors which had occurred at trial,” he said. “They have nothing whatever to do with the current events.” Dr Moles highlighted the court’s decision to allow evidence about luminol — a screening test for blood but not a conclusive one — to be heard at the trial. But former Tasmanian DPP Tim Ellis SC, who prosecuted Neill-Fraser, said the defence claims surrounding luminol were baseless. “I never claimed it was blood in there. I said it was tested with luminol but then it was examined for blood ... our witness said that she couldn’t say it was blood. The jury was never addressed on the basis it was blood in there, it’s a complete non-issue,” he said."


STORY: "High-profile Queen’s Counsel Robert Richter met with Premier Will Hodgman over murder case," by reporter Patrick Billings, published by The Mercury on August 18, 2017.

GIST:" One of Australia’s most prominent silks, Robert Richter QC, has called on the State Government to launch an independent inquiry into the Susan Neill-Fraser case. The request was made in a behind-closed-doors meeting with Premier Will Hodgman, Tasmania’s Acting Attorney-General Matthew Groom and Solicitor-General Michael O’Farrell on May 11 this year.  At the meeting, Mr Richter, who lists Mick Gatto and mass killer Julian Knight as past clients and is representing Cardinal George Pell over historical sex abuse charges, pressed for the independent probe. Neill-Fraser is serving 23 years for the 2009 killing of partner Bob Chappell on their yacht on the River Derwent. The 62-year-old is fighting the conviction under landmark legislation that allows for new appeals if “fresh and compelling” evidence emerges. Mr Richter has previously questioned Neill-Fraser’s conviction, which was upheld on appeal, writing to former attorney-general Brian Wightman about the matter in 2013. At the May meeting, attended by two other unnamed people, Mr Richter argued for Meaghan Vass to be granted indemnity from prosecution. Ms Vass was a then homeless 15-year-old who was called to give evidence at Neill-Fraser’s murder trial, after her DNA was found on the couple’s yacht. Ms Vass denied ever being on the Four Windsand prosecutors argued her DNA was likely transferred from elsewhere to the yacht. The Mercury understands Ms Vass has since provided a statutory declaration claiming Neill-Fraser was not on the boat the day Mr Chappell, whose body has never been found, disappeared. She is understood to have put two other suspects in the frame. Her evidence was part of the dossier Mr Richter gave the Government in a bid to launch an inquiry. Mr Richter and his companions asked that any inquiry be held by an interstate former judge or director of public prosecutions. But they were told there would be no inquiry and any application for immunity should be made to Tasmania’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Daryl Coates SC. The Government confirmed the meeting but would not comment further on it. “A meeting was held at the request of Mr Richter. It would be inappropriate to comment on the topics of discussion,” a Government spokesman said. News of the meeting comes in the wake of a chaotic few weeks for the case. The charging of Karen Patricia Nancy Keefe, 41, on August 9, with perverting justice and corrupting a witness kicked off a demoralising week for Neill-Fraser and her supporters. Police allege Ms Keefe provided false evidence in the form of an affidavit including evidence relating to Neill-Fraser and Ms Vass. On the corrupting a witness charge, police allege Ms Keefe agreed to receive $3000 cash in property, a $40,000 reward and a $50,000 education fund for herself and her children “in consideration for an understanding that Meaghan Vass be called as a witness, in a judicial proceeding, to provide false evidence”. A few days later, police arrested Stephen John Gleeson, 57, and will charge him on summons with perverting justice. Police said they will allege the man provided false evidence in an application by Neill-Fraser to appeal her 2010 conviction. Then on Wednesday, another bombshell — Hobart lawyer Jeffrey Ian Thompson was charged with perverting justice in relation to the case. Police allege Mr Thompson, who was working with Neill-Fraser’s former defence solicitor Barbara Etter at the time, deliberately influenced Mr Gleeson and prejudiced photographic evidence in support of Neill-Fraser’s appeal. The Mercury does not suggest Ms Etter, who left the defence team in June and could not be reached, is guilty of any wrongdoing. In the wake of Mr Thompson’s arrest, police for the first time talked about an alleged “conspiracy” to pervert the course of justice that had began in November. A police spokeswoman said that during an unrelated investigation in early February, police were given information alleging a possible conspiracy to pervert justice by falsifying evidence in support of Neill-Fraser’s appeal, which is currently before the court. The word from inside the force is there will more charges to follow. Outside court after Mr Thompson’s appearance on Wednesday, Neill-Fraser’s daughter Sarah Bowles said her mother would be “shocked and in disbelief with regard to this latest development”. Renowned barrister Tom Percy QC, who is representing Neill-Fraser pro bono, declined to comment on developments this week, saying he “might have more to say” on Wednesday when the case heads to the Supreme Court in Hobart for a mention. Melbourne criminal law specialist Paul Galbally has confirmed he is still on the defence team but declined to comment further. Legal reform activist Bob Moles — who runs a project investigating alleged wrongful convictions in South Australia — believed the appeal could go ahead despite the charges. “I’m of the view that the Neill-Fraser appeal could and would be successful if the appeal court was informed of the errors which had occurred at trial,” he said. “They have nothing whatever to do with the current events.”

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.themercury.com.au/subscribe/news/1/index.html?sourceCode=TMWEB_WRE170_a_GGL&mode=premium&dest=http:%2F%2Fwww.themercury.com.au%2Fnews%2Ftasmania%2Fhighprofile-queens-counsel-robert-richter-met-with-premier-will-hodgman-over-murder-case%2Fnews-story%2F959fff4981f095b99a7f6401c3feed28&memtype=anonymous

See  Mercury commentary  by veteran TV reporter and columnist Charles Wooley for TAS Weekend  at the link below;  "Robert Richter QC is one of Melbourne’s most eminent barristers and yet another interstate legal expert urging for a judicial inquiry into the Susan Neill-Fraser murder conviction. On May 11, Mr Richter and two others made a personal representation to the Tasmanian Government, meeting in the Premier’s Murray St office with Will Hodgman, acting Attorney-General Matthew Groom and Solicitor-General Michael O’Farrell. Mr Richter QC expressed his concern that there had been a miscarriage of justice. He offered the Tasmanians a detailed investigative dossier exonerating Neill-Fraser and naming the two men his team believed killed Bob Chappell. It also named the young woman Meaghan Vass whom it says had been aboard the Four Winds at the time of the murder and who was “in danger and required protection as well as witness indemnity”. Mr Richter QC requested the Government institute a judicial inquiry, even a Royal Commission if they preferred. He presented the Tasmanian political leaders with the dossier and suggested recruiting investigators with more experience in complex murders than could be expected in Tasmania. He suggested the inquiry be led by someone removed from local pressures, possibly a Director of Public Prosecution from another state. One of Mr Richter’s team told me that neither the dossier nor the advice was well received. “The three of them looked like they had consumed sour milk,” he said. “They were very dismissive. Anywhere else in Australia when Richter QC walks into a room he is the centre of attention. This was an unusual reaction.” Four months on, the Richter dossier has not surfaced. Nor is it likely to in any greater detail than reported here. Issues of contempt of court limit the extent of public statements about legal proceedings before the courts. The mechanism is fair enough where it protects a charged person from prejudgment, but not so desirable when it stops reportage and fair comment in the public interest on a vital, confounding issue of justice. In the light of the recent extraordinary and arresting events in the long-running Susan Neill-Fraser affair, the darker it gets, the more difficult it is to report. Initially, there was a degree of public and legal unease that a murder conviction could be so easily secured in the absence of a body, a weapon and any witness. Later the forensics were revealed to be misleading and we learned the crime scene, by the police’s own confusing admission, was contaminated by DNA tracked on to the yacht Four Winds on the investigator’s boots. Since, we have seen a growing public and expert legal apprehension concerning aspects of the investigation of Bob Chappell’s death. But in the past 10 days have come dramatic events that now seem to compromise the integrity of Neill-Fraser’s long-running appeal. The Mercury newspaper and this columnist are legally constrained in what we can report of this week’s arrest of a Hobart lawyer. It closely follows last week’s charges against two would-be witnesses who allegedly intended to give false evidence in Neill-Fraser’s appeal. In the interest of shedding light in a dark place and in maintaining public faith in the justice system, now is time for Mr Richter’s independent judicial inquiry into the investigation and conviction of Neill-Fraser. As with Mr Richter QC, much of the legal concern over the conduct of the Neill-Fraser case has predictably come from outside of Tasmania. Australian expert on miscarriages of justice, Bob Moles, says the Neill-Fraser conviction is “Australia’s worst miscarriage of justice since Lindy Chamberlain”. Mr Robert Richter QC does not disagree. It may be the Tasmanian Government was not aware of the reputation of the eminent Richter QC. If so, he is no trendy Lefty do-good lawyer. He has defended corporate heavyweights like John Elliott and Ray Williams, and also is representing George Pell. What he offered our Premier and law officers besides a detailed dossier on the murder case was a quite conservative way out of this imbroglio."

http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/highprofile-queens-counsel-robert-richter-met-with-premier-will-hodgman-over-murder-case/news-story/959fff4981f095b99a7f6401c3feed28

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Book Review: Willie Grimes: North Carolina: 'Ghost Of The Innocent Man: A true story of trial and redemption.'... Martha Ann Toll chronicles justice too long delayed..."Deploying the same precision with which he documents Grimes' prison life, Rachlin recounts the arduous and complex work to move the wheels of justice. 19 years after Grimes' arrest, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill to establish an Innocence Inquiry Commission; Chris Mumma's fingerprints were all over it. Read Rachlin's Ghost of the Innocent Man to follow the twisted path that led Chris Mumma to pick up Grimes' file, ultimately exposing the use of outdated photos to misidentify the perpetrator, the failure to fingerprint relevant parts of the crime scene, exculpatory evidence destroyed, contorted "science" involving a single hair, and more."


BOOK REVIEW: "Ghost of the Innocent Man: A true story of trial and redemption," by Benjamin Rachlin,  reviewed by Martha Anne Toll on August 13, 2017. ("Martha Anne Toll is the Executive Director of the Butler Family Fund.)

GIST: "Innocence cases spotlight the many corruptions of our justice system: Mistakes beget mistakes — some intentional, some not. An epic bureaucracy protects a deeply flawed system. Thousands are wrongfully convicted. The National Registry of Exonerations calculates that over 18,000 years have been lost by innocent people serving time. How to convey those hopeless years behind bars for crimes not committed; evidence unlawfully withheld, botched police investigations, mistaken identity, false testimony, racial bias skewing every level of the process, errors compounding errors? Benjamin Rachlin's Ghost of the Innocent Man tackles this challenge through the case of Willie J. Grimes. A crisply written page turner, Rachlin's book reports from two perspectives: Grimes' personal tragedy, and the story of North Carolina's criminal justice system sluggishly lumbering toward the acknowledgment that innocent people might be incarcerated. In 1987 Grimes was a textile worker who had a second job delivering furniture. He had no money, but his life was far from impoverished. He was close to family and friends, and had a long-term girlfriend. Then, a 69-year-old widow named Carrie Elliott was raped in her Hickory, N.C. home. With the incentive of a $1,000 reward, Elliott's neighbor falsely accused Grimes; despite a seemingly airtight alibi and no record of violent crime, he was arrested and charged. His physical features didn't match the victim's description: Grimes had missing fingertips, a large raised scar below his collarbone, and was 35 pounds lighter than the assailant. DNA analysis was in its infancy, and Grimes' lawyer's request for it was ignored. Grimes was convicted and sentenced to life......... Activist Christine Mumma has a hunch that all is not right with North Carolina's justice system. Like Grimes, she's in it for the long game. She goes to law school and becomes an advocate — a dog with a bone when it comes to the perils of false convictions — and finds a champion in North Carolina's conservative Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake. While Grimes languishes behind bars, there are heroes on the outside, lawyers and judges who care about the integrity and trustworthiness of the courts. They're paying attention to high profile exonerations around the country, and recognize that "an innocent person can be convicted even when no one did anything wrong." Deploying the same precision with which he documents Grimes' prison life, Rachlin recounts the arduous and complex work to move the wheels of justice. 19 years after Grimes' arrest, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill to establish an Innocence Inquiry Commission; Chris Mumma's fingerprints were all over it. Read Rachlin's Ghost of the Innocent Man to follow the twisted path that led Chris Mumma to pick up Grimes' file, ultimately exposing the use of outdated photos to misidentify the perpetrator, the failure to fingerprint relevant parts of the crime scene, exculpatory evidence destroyed, contorted "science" involving a single hair, and more."

The entire review can be found at: 

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/13/542062535/ghost-of-the-innocent-man-chronicles-justice-too-long-delayed

For purchase information go to the link below:

 https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Innocent-Man-Story-Redemption/dp/0316311499/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502830258&sr=8-1&keywords=Ghost+of+the+Innocent+Man

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Friday, August 18, 2017

Trump Regime's Forensic Science 'Reform': (7): Veracruz Post commentary: Jefferson Sessions’ program to lock up more Americans includes abundant use of junk forensic science. Mark Sumner..."In a landmark 2009 report, the National Academy of Sciences found that nuclear DNA testing was the only reliable forensic discipline; those based on expert analysis, as opposed to laboratory testing, weren’t really science at all. "In other words, most “expert forensic opinion” is just opinion. Error rates determined by the NAS showed that the majority of such would should not be accepted as definitive evidence. But for Sessions, anything that puts more Americans behind bars is just fine. He wants more money for bad tests, and less scrutiny for how they’re used. “I don’t think we should suggest that those proven scientific principles that we’ve been using for decades are somehow uncertain,” [Sessions] said during a 2009 Senate hearing on the National Academy of Sciences report. This would make more sense if Sessions had declared that leeches have been used for centuries, and he didn’t think anyone should suggest we should stop bleeding patients to address illness."


COMMENTARY:  "Jefferson Session's program to lock up more Americans includes abundant use of junk forensic science," by Mark Sumner, published by The Veracruz Post on August 10, 2017. (Mark Sumner is the author of the nonfiction work "The Evolution of Everything" as well as several novels including "Devil's Tower.)"

GIST: "Attorney General Jefferson Session has been making proclamations about “improving” the use of forensic science, but Mother Jones reports that Sessions’ idea of improvement means ignoring mountains of evidence and appointing a new senior adviser whose claim to fame is defending junk science. The appointment of Ted Hunt, a Missouri prosecutor, came amid a broader announcement of Justice Department initiatives to improve forensic science. As the new senior forensic adviser, Hunt will oversee a “forensic science working group” to create guidelines for forensic examiners to follow in court testimony. Junk science goes beyond climate change denial and anti-vaccine madness. For years, prosecutors have complained about the evidentiary expectations raised by television series and movies in which forensic analysts run DNA tests in seconds and pick out a killer with a single hair. But it turns out the worst practitioners of forensic science aren’t on the tube. They’re in the courtroom. "In a landmark 2009 report, the National Academy of Sciences found that nuclear DNA testing was the only reliable forensic discipline; those based on expert analysis, as opposed to laboratory testing, weren’t really science at all. "In other words, most “expert forensic opinion” is just opinion. Error rates determined by the NAS showed that the majority of such would should not be accepted as definitive evidence. But for Sessions, anything that puts more Americans behind bars is just fine. He wants more money for bad tests, and less scrutiny for how they’re used. “I don’t think we should suggest that those proven scientific principles that we’ve been using for decades are somehow uncertain,” [Sessions] said during a 2009 Senate hearing on the National Academy of Sciences report. This would make more sense if Sessions had declared that leeches have been used for centuries, and he didn’t think anyone should suggest we should stop bleeding patients to address illness. What the NAS study showed was not that the opinion-based evidence Sessions and other prosecutors had been using was “proven.” What it showed was something else entirely.........President Obama followed up the report by creating a DOJ task force to deal with problems of pseudo-science in tests and improve the quality of forensic tests. Naturally, Jefferson Sessions has destroyed that task force. The department’s new efforts include scrapping a group created by the Obama administration, the National Commission on Forensic Science, which brought together prosecutors, defense attorneys, crime lab chiefs, and scientists to create recommendations for improving the field. Instead, Sessions is turning this issue over to his expert, Hunt. Why Hunt? He was one of the commissioners on the previous group, and he had a very specific record. When Obama’s commission called for forensics experts to be more exacting in the language they used to describe the certainty of tests, Hunt voted against it; When Obama’s commission called for stricter standards on accrediting forensics labs, Hunt voted against it; When Obama’s commission called for labs to show more transparency in how tests were done, Hunt voted against it;  When Obama’s commission called for a scientific review of many widely used tests, Hunt … voted against it."

The entire commentary can be found at:

http://veracruzpost.com/2017/08/jefferson-sessions-program-to-lock-up-more-americans-includes-abundant-use-of-junk-forensic-science/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Reid Technique; (False confessions): Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism podcast: "Behind The Scenes Look At Controversial Police Interrogation Method."..."The then-22-year-old former Iowa City, Iowa, woman was surprised to find out that police suspected her of breaking both legs of a 15-month-old toddler. Her case reveals how a controversial method of police interrogation called the Reid Technique works, and how critics say it sometimes produces false confessions — something Varallo-Speckeen says she delivered in that July 2013 police interview. “I think we will make a great stride in reducing the rate of false confessions when we complete the move away from controversial techniques like Reid,” said Dean Strang, a Madison, Wisconsin, lawyer who has become known as one of the defense attorneys featured in the Netflix program “Making a Murderer.” That program tells the story of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man convicted of a sex assault he didn’t commit. Strang and others speak in this podcast of an IowaWatch Connection radio report that digs into the investigative method. The podcast includes portions of the recording of Varallo-Speckeen’s interrogation."

 
PODCAST:  "Behind The Scenes Look At Controversial Police Interrogation Method," by Krista Johnson with Jeff Stein,  published by The  Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism on August 7, 2017.


PHOTO CAPTION: "Nearly four years since her arrest in July 2013 for felony aggravated battery against a child, Dorothy Varallo-Speckeen stands in late spring 2017 outside her East Moline home that she and Jennifer Schafer share."

GIST: "Dorothy Varallo-Speckeen says she thought she was being called to the Moline, Illinois, police station in July 2013 to help solve a child abuse case. The then-22-year-old former Iowa City, Iowa, woman was surprised to find out that police suspected her of breaking both legs of a 15-month-old toddler. Her case reveals how a controversial method of police interrogation called the Reid Technique works, and how critics say it sometimes produces false confessions — something Varallo-Speckeen says she delivered in that July 2013 police interview.  “I think we will make a great stride in reducing the rate of false confessions when we complete the move away from controversial techniques like Reid,” said Dean Strang, a Madison, Wisconsin, lawyer who has become known as one of the defense attorneys featured in the Netflix program “Making a Murderer.” That program tells the story of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man convicted of a sex assault he didn’t commit. Strang and others speak in this podcast of an IowaWatch Connection radio report that digs into the investigative method. The podcast includes portions of the recording of Varallo-Speckeen’s interrogation. The IowaWatch Connection is a weekly program featuring IowaWatch reporting. It is aired on 20 radio stations each weekend. Steps To PEACE Interviewing; The PEACE interviewing steps are used throughout the United Kingdom and in many ways advocates techniques that are polar opposite to Reid techniques."

The entire podcast can be found at
http://iowawatch.org/2017/08/07/podcast-behind-the-scenes-report-about-controversial-police-interrogation-method/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jeffrey Havard: Mississippi: Shaken Baby Syndrome; Radley Balko - a long-time critic of medical examiner Steven Hayne - puts his spotlight on the Havard case in his high-power, influential Washington Post column 'The Watch.'..."Controversial medical examiner backs off shaken baby claim in death penalty case."...".Part of the problem is that Hayne is incredibly slippery. It’s true that at trial, he never explicitly said that Chloe Britt had been sexually assaulted. He merely failed to object when prosecutors suggested it — and he offered up that comment that her contusion was “consistent with” penetration by an object. He undoubtedly knew the impact that would have on the jury. In 2014, Hayne unleashed another bombshell. He told the Clarion-Ledger that he never thought Britt had been sexually assaulted. He later told Havard’s attorneys that he even told prosecutors his opinion before trial, more than once."

 

GIST: "This week the controversial former Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne testified at a hearing for Jeffrey Havard. Havard was convicted in 2002 of sexually assaulting and shaking to death Chloe Britt, the 6-month-old daughter of Havard’s live-in girlfriend. Havard has always maintained that the infant hit her head on the toilet after he dropped her while giving her a bath. But Havard made some mistakes. He first failed to tell his girlfriend — and later doctors and investigators — that he had dropped the girl. By the time he did, they understandably no longer believed him. But the evidence against Havard has always been thin. It has mostly consisted of testimony from Hayne that Chloe Britt died from shaking, not from a blow to the head consistent with Havard’s story. The symptoms Hayne cited to make that diagnosis have since been called into question in the medical and forensics communities. But the shaken baby syndrome (SBS) diagnosis alone probably wouldn’t have allowed the state to seek the death penalty. That’s perhaps why prosecutors also alleged the sexual assault. By the time of Havard’s trial, doctors, ER nurses, the county sheriff and the local county coroner all claimed to have seen significant damage to Chloe Britt’s rectum, damage they testified was consistent with abuse. Hayne, too, seemed to concur with the sexual abuse allegation. He claimed at trial to have found a found a one-inch contusion on the girl’s anus. When the prosecutor asked Hayne what could have caused the contusion, he replied, “penetration of the rectum by an object.” But Hayne’s autopsy on the girl showed no such abuse. The one-inch contusion he claimed at trial was actually only one centimeter (he claimed he misspoke). Since Havard’s conviction, multiple medical examiners and other experts have submitted affidavits on his behalf to dispute both the SBS diagnosis and the state’s claim of sexual abuse. The Mississippi Supreme Court hasn’t shown much interest. At trial, Havard’s attorney requested funds to hire his own medical examiner to review Hayne’s work. The judge turned him down. After the conviction and death sentence, former Alabama state medical examiner Jim Lauridson submitted an affidavit on Havard’s behalf questioning Hayne’s conclusions about the sexual abuse. Lauridson pointed out that what the doctors, nurses and law enforcement officials likely saw during those frantic moments in the emergency room was a dilated anus, which often occurs in young children who are brain-dead, or shortly after death. Hayne’s own photos of the girl’s body, taken after she was cleaned up, showed no signs of sexual abuse. The Mississippi Supreme Court at first refused to even consider Lauridson’s affidavit. The court ruled that his critique of Hayne’s work was evidence that should have been introduced at trial. Of course, that was impossible, since the court refused to give Havard money to hire his own expert witness. The court didn’t consider Lauridson’s affidavit until Havard had exhausted his appeals and was in post-conviction — when such claims are much more difficult to win. When the court did finally consider Lauridson’s affidavit, in 2008, the court rejected it out of hand. Justice George Carlson’s majority opinion badly misrepresented what Lauridson wrote. To give just one example, Carlson wrote that Lauridson stated in his affidavit that “there is a possibility that Chloe Madison Britt was not sexually assaulted.’” Carlson then added, “Taking this statement to its logical conclusion, this leaves open the possibility that she was.” That of course is not the logical conclusion. Worse, the phrase “there is a possibility” doesn’t appear anywhere in Lauridson’s affidavit. Here’s what Lauridson did write: “The conclusions that Chloe Britt suffered sexual abuse are not supported by objective evidence and are wrong.” That seems pretty definitive. The only wiggle room Lauridson left was that he couldn’t completely rule out abuse until he saw the tissue slides Hayne took from the girl. Hayne had yet to turn them over. When he did, Lauridson found nothing in them to suggest sexual abuse. Nevertheless, the court voted 8-1 to uphold Havard’s conviction. The court found that, “Dr. Lauridson’s conclusion was not only contrary to that of Dr. Hayne, it was contrary to the sworn testimony from experienced emergency-room doctors and nurses.” The lone dissent was from a justice named Oliver Diaz. Regular readers of The Watch might recognize that name. When Diaz later ran for reelection to the court, an outside interest group took out TV ads attacking Diaz for his vote in that case, accusing him of voting to free a child rapist and murderer. Havard again petitioned the state Supreme Court in 2012. This time, he had an affidavit from Hayne himself. “Based upon the autopsy evidence available regarding the death of Chloe Britt,” Hayne wrote, “I cannot include or exclude to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that she was sexually assaulted.” That still wasn’t enough. ........Part of the problem is that Hayne is incredibly slippery. It’s true that at trial, he never explicitly said that Chloe Britt had been sexually assaulted. He merely failed to object when prosecutors suggested it — and he offered up that comment that her contusion was “consistent with” penetration by an object. He undoubtedly knew the impact that would have on the jury. In 2014, Hayne unleashed another bombshell. He told the Clarion-Ledger that he never thought Britt had been sexually assaulted. He later told Havard’s attorneys that he even told prosecutors his opinion before trial, more than once. This is hard to believe. If true, it would mean that the prosecutors moved forward with the sexual assault charge despite the fact that the only expert witness qualified to offer that conclusion didn’t believe it. That and the fact that Hayne’s alleged statement to prosecutors was never turned over to Havard’s defense attorneys would amount to some incredibly serious prosecutorial misconduct. It isn’t that no prosecutor is capable of such misconduct. We’ve seen it before. But Hayne’s statement is hard to swallow because of Hayne’s own actions. If he never believed Britt was sexually assaulted, why would he let the state argue precisely the opposite at Havard’s trial? Why would he let it make that argument in order to have Havard executed? Why didn’t he object when prosecutors asked him leading questions that a reasonable person should have concluded were designed to get the jury to believe something Hayne didn’t believe was true? In his opening statement, the prosecutor told jurors that Hayne would “testify for you about his findings and about how he confirmed the nurses’ and doctors’ worst fears this child had been abused and the child had been penetrated.” Why didn’t Hayne speak up then? Why did he let the prosecutor attribute opinions to him that he didn’t believe? And why did he allow Jeffrey Havard to sit on death row for nine years before finally speaking up? The more plausible explanation here is that Hayne changed his story. Why would he change his story? It’s difficult to say. (Hayne has not responded to my attempts to interview him over the years.) Perhaps he had an attack of conscience. Perhaps, now that he’s no longer allowed to do autopsies on behalf of prosecutors, he has decided he needs to burnish his reputation with defense attorneys, who are still permitted to hire him. Perhaps he has seen the lineup of medical examiners who have said he was wrong about this case and is trying to salvage his credibility. In any case, as of 2012, there hasn’t been a single medical examiner who has looked at this case who thinks Chloe Britt was sexually assaulted, including the one who testified for the prosecution. And yet the Mississippi Supreme Court stildenied Jeffrey Havard on his petition to throw out the sexual assault charge. In 2015, the court finally granted Havard permission to seek an evidentiary hearing on the validity of the shaken baby evidence. That’s the hearing that took place this week and in it, Hayne testified that he no longer believes Chloe Britt was shaken to death. But according to the Clarion-Ledger, the judge at the hearing noted that he could not allow Havard’s attorneys to question the validity of the sexual assault evidence — the state Supreme Court wouldn’t allow it. It may be hard to comprehend why the court would give Havard relief on the shaken baby evidence but deny him on the sexual abuse claim. But I have a theory:  (Read on, at the link below, to access Balko's theory - and find out why he suspects that the court will ultimately find that there isn’t any credible evidence that he shook Chloe Britt to death  and that in the meantime,the courts will stand by the allegation that Havard sexually assaulted the girl, even though there isn’t a single medical examiner who believes it.)"


The entire commentary can be found at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2017/08/16/controversial-medical-examiner-backs-off-shaken-baby-claim-in-death-penalty-case/?utm_term=.01557f19a8c1

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Susan Neill-Fraser; Murder Appeal: Significant Development: Bulletin: Third person charged with perverting course of justice. ABC News reports..." Police today charged a 51-year-old Sandy Bay man with perverting the course of justice. Police alleged he attempted to deliberately influence a witness to manufacture evidence at the appeal. A 57-year-old Risdon Vale man was charged on Monday and last week, Karen Patricia Nancy Keefe appeared in court charged with corrupting a witness and perverting the course of justice. The Sandy Bay man is due to appear in the Magistrates Court this afternoon."


"A third person has been charged by Tasmanian police as they investigate a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in Susan-Neill Fraser's murder appeal. Neill-Fraser is serving a 23-year sentence for the murder of her partner Bob Chappell in 2009. The 62-year-old is making a last-ditch attempt to overturn her conviction and the case is currently before the Supreme Court. Police today charged a 51-year-old Sandy Bay man with perverting the course of justice. Police alleged he attempted to deliberately influence a witness to manufacture evidence at the appeal. A 57-year-old Risdon Vale man was charged on Monday and last week, Karen Patricia Nancy Keefe appeared in court charged with corrupting a witness and perverting the course of justice. The Sandy Bay man is due to appear in the Magistrates Court this afternoon."
http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-16/third-person-charged-over-bob-chappell-case/8813102?pfmredir=sm

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.